Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Foolproof Way to Cook Burgers Indoors

Missing those grill-kissed summer burgers? 
Here's how to make them without the grill.

Folks, I miss summer. I miss impromptu beach trips, brain freeze–inducing cocktails, and SPF in triple digits. But more than anything, I miss burgers. Plump, juicy, smoky burgers. The kind that only come off the grill.

Burgers cooked on the stove top usually can't compare. With no smoke and nowhere for the beef fat to go, the meat usually ends up simmering in its own juices instead of searing over a hot flame. The flavor, moisture, and texture is completely different than those of grilled burgers.

Is it possible to cook an excellent burger indoors? 

Here's our best, indoor burger – cooking advice...


When making burgers at home, some people stick them under the broiler. Some cooks deep-fry their burgers to get that crisp exterior. The best way? Do as I do and get a cast-iron pan ripping hot. In less than a minute in the pan, your burgers will form a crusty sear.

I like a flat pan because you get better browning across the whole surface of the meat, which is one of the advantages of cooking indoors. 

Over the summer, I recommended dimpling, or making a shallow indentation in the center of each patty. And that works great on the grill, where the edges of the burger are also getting hot and begin to contract and push the center up. But in the case of the stove top skillet, where there isn't a blast of heat from below or flames licking up the side, your burger isn't going to puff up as much, making dimpling unnecessary.

You want your burger patties to be chilled when they hit the pan. Cold fat gets clingy, which helps a burger patty keep its shape throughout cooking. But when you handle the meat to form the patties, the warmth from your hands causes some of the fat to break down, so cover and chill the formed patties for at least 20 minutes before cooking them. This will also help prevent the center from cooking too quickly.

One of the biggest rules of burger-making stands up both in and out of doors. Salting the burger patties long before cooking (or worse, while mixing the ground meat) will change the meat's structure and cause its proteins to denature.

Salting starts to “cook” the patties, The protein shrinks and squeezes out moisture—and you don’t want to lose that juiciness. If you were worried about the burgers falling flat, they’ll literally do that with a premature salt sprinkling. Instead, season your burgers with salt and pepper—both sides—right before placing the patties in the pan.

When taking the temperature of a burger to check for doneness (which you should do if you want to nail that perfect medium-rare center—and to ensure food safety), it's tempting to poke the patty from the top. But not only does this create an unsightly blemish, but it’s also not nearly as accurate. For the best results, use an instant-read thermometer and stick the probe in from the side.

Let’s face it. The real reason we love to eat burgers during the summer is because the smoke from the grill flavors every bite. Since that's not easy to replicate indoors, you can fake it by seasoning the burgers with smoked salts or smoked paprika,  (Another option: fry up a pan of smoky bacon to top the burgers. Certainly couldn't hurt.)


Cooking a Burger with out a Grill


1 3/4 lbs ground beef
Olive oil
1 large red onion
1 splash of white wine vinegar
2 large gherkins
4 sesame-topped brioche burger buns
4–8 slices of smoked bacon
4 teaspoons yellow mustard
Tabasco Chipotle sauce
4 thin slices of Cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons tomato ketchup

Burger Sauce:

1/4 of an iceberg lettuce
2 heaping tablespoons mayo
1 heaping tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon Tabasco Chipotle sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

optional: 1 teaspoon brandy or bourbon


1.    Divide ground beef into 4 and, with wet hands, roll each piece into a ball, then press into flat patties roughly 5 inches wide and about 3/4 inch wider than your buns. 

2.    Place on an oiled plate and chill in the fridge. Next, finely slice the red onion, then dress in a bowl with the vinegar and a pinch of sea salt. Slice the gherkins and halve the buns. Finely chop the lettuce and mix with the rest of the burger sauce ingredients in a bowl, then season to taste.

I like to cook only 2 burgers at a time to achieve perfection, so get two pans on the go—a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat for your burgers and another on a medium heat for the bacon. 

3.    Pat your burgers with oil and season them with salt and pepper. Put 2 burgers into the first pan, pressing down on them with a slotted spatula, then put half the bacon into the other pan. After 1 minute, flip the burgers and brush each cooked side with a 1/2 teaspoon of mustard and a dash of Tabasco. 

4.    After another minute, flip onto the mustard side and brush again with another 1/2 teaspoon of mustard and a second dash of Tabasco on the other side. Cook for 1 more minute, by which point you can place some crispy bacon on top of each burger with a slice of cheese. Add a tiny splash of water to the pan and place a heatproof bowl over the burgers to melt the cheese—30 seconds should do it. At the same time, toast 2 split buns in the bacon fat in the other pan until lightly golden. Repeat with the remaining 2 burgers.

5.    To build each burger, add a quarter of the burger sauce to the bun base, then top with a cheesy bacon burger, a quarter of the onions, and gherkins. Rub the bun top with a teaspoon of ketchup, then gently press together. As the burger rests, juices will soak into the bun, so serve right away, which is great, or for an extra-naughty experience, wrap each one in parchment paper, then give it a minute to go gorgeous and sloppy.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016



It’s pure comfort food at its best – so no. It is not diet-friendly. It is not skinny. It is not light. It’s comfort food at its best, and EASIEST!


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef and onion and cook until beef has browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drain excess fat.
  4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, parsley and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together cream cheese and sour cream.
  6. Add pasta to the prepared baking dish and layer with cream cheese and beef mixture; sprinkle with cheeses.
  7. Place into oven and bake until bubbly and heated through, about 15-20 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

 Get Meal Idea Updates

Saturday, March 26, 2016


Seasoned stock keeps this meatloaf juicy and flavorful. A revised ketchup delivers just the right amount of tang, spice, and sweetness. And the bacon? We think it speaks for itself. 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, grated on large holes of a box grater
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup fine breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck (15% fat)
  • 6 thin strips bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then parchment paper.
  2. Heat oil over medium in a small skillet. Cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, bring ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, and cayenne to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Transfer 2 tablespoons ketchup mixture to a blender; add broth and parsley and blend until smooth. Set remaining ketchup mixture aside.
  4. Add broth mixture, eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper to onion and garlic; mix to combine. Add beef and mix well with your hands to combine. Transfer meatloaf mixture to prepared pan and form into a long log (about 12"x5"), smoothing surface. Spread reserved ketchup mixture over top and drape bacon in a crisscross pattern over loaf, tucking underneath. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165° and bacon is crisp, 70–80 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy :)

Monday, March 16, 2015


Put this zippy twist on your meatloaf dinner. It is a sweet and sour taste which will delight your family. They will be requesting all the time.

Easy Sweet & Sour Meatloaf


  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  1. Mix the first 7 ingredients together and shape into a meat loaf. Place on a baking pan. Combine sauce ingredients and pour over meatloaf. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally.

Happy Cooking

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